To shamelessly paraphrase the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer tagline, the Bench 30th anniversary show promises to have “more stars than there are in heaven.”
The lifestyle empire founded by Ben Chan will hold another spectacle on Saturday, November 18, at the Mall of Asia Arena, entitled “Under The Stars: The Bench 30th Anniversary Show.”
Bench First Couple, Lucy Torres-Gomez and Richard Gomez, leads a bevy of heavenly bodies that include today’s most famous names in showbiz, sports and social media. On a side note, I wish to see the still-gorgeous Joanne Zapanta, the original Bench Girl, to strut alongside Richard in an ultimate throwback and tribute presentation.
“It will be bigger and better,” assured Chan during a special press preview at the Ibiza Beach Club at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
The event also offered a peek into the newest denim and underwear designs, reinforced by Joey Samson’s androgynous touch, and the introduction of the latest Bench Bodies.
Maxine Medina, Miss Universe 2016 Top 6 and a budding actress, joined Kapamilya stars Bianca King, Beauty Gonzales, Marco Gumabao and Albie Casiño, as well as Kapuso mainstays Sanya Lopez, Addy Raj, David Licauco, Bruno Santos, Kiko Estrada and Kim Domingo. Mark Mugen, mixed-martial arts athlete, also flaunted his killer abs.
For an international flair, Austrian model/sports science student Ivo Buchta, Italian-American and physical education student Trevor Signorino, and math genius Pietro Boselli will scorch the runway.
Not to be outdone, some of our world-class beauties will flaunt the Filipina brand of sexiness. From the Miss Universe roster are Ara Arida and MJ Lastimosa. From Miss World are Gwen Ruais, Queenie Rehman, Valerie Weigman and Hillary Parungao.
Also in the beauty brigade are Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago; Miss Supranational Top 25 2016 Joanna Eden; and reigning Miss Eco-Philippines Cynthia Thomalla.
In a grand homecoming, WinWyn Marquez, the newly crowned Reina HispanoAmericana will take the catwalk. Incidentally, she might share the spotlight with her cousin, the statuesque Michelle Dee, daughter of Melanie Marquez.
Meanwhile, the public is left guessing whether Miss World 2013 Megan Young, Miss Globe 2015 Ann Colis, and Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach—who have all been part of Bench campaigns—will make surprise appearances.
Kylie Verzosa, Miss International 2016, is signed with Bayo.
But, save the screams for tinseltown’s hottest properties. The heartthrobs who will be at the show are Daniel Padilla, Enrique Gil, Derrick Monasterio, Ken Chan, Rocco Nacino, Iñigo Pascual, Diego Loyzaga, and Ruru Madrid. Richard Gutierrez will show up but no Piolo Pascual. And Tom Rodriguez will be around but no Dennis Trillo.
The sweethearts, meanwhile, include Kathryn Bernardo, Julia Barretto, Julia Montes, Ashley Ortega, Coleen Garcia and Gabbi Garcia. There’s Lovi Poe but no Marian Rivera. And there’s Maine Mendoza sans partner Alden Richards, who is signed with Boardwalk. James Reid and Nadine Lustre are now endorsing Folded & Hung.
At the Naked Truth show in 2014, Geena Rocero, the famous Filipino transwoman/activist/model, was a welcome inclusion that advanced the cause of the LGBTQI community.
If there’s a cause that Bench might want to advocate this year, it should consider the campaign against sexual assault simmering in Hollywood for a few weeks now. Filipino-Italian model, Ambra Batillana Gutierrez, is the best representation.
Ambra, a runner-up at the Century Tuna Superbods in 2016, was the only accuser who immediately reported to the police right after her assault by producer Harvey Weinstein in 2015, even snaring a taped confession by Weinstein with the help of the New York Police Department.
Even so, with political agenda or not, the show is expected to be extravagant, decadent and theatrical. Top-notch stylist Noel Manapat will collaborate with still-unnamed designers to jazz up the Bench clothing and underwear staples. And with Robby Carmona at the helm, it will be a high-energy display of clothes, music, and performances.
To score much-coveted tickets, purchase Bench merchandise from Php600 (general admission) to Php2,300 (lower-box invitation). But the items must include one Bench Body Underwear or one pair of OJ Denim.